UPDATE - US sanctions 30, including Russian deputy minister

UPDATE - US sanctions 30, including Russian deputy minister

'The U.S. government is committed to maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,' Treasury chief says


By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. on Friday slapped sanctions on 21 individuals and nine entities related to Russia and Ukraine, including Russia's Deputy Minister of Energy Andrey Cherezov.

Three people, including Cherezov and Evgeniy Grabchak, a department head at the Russian Energy Ministry, were sanctioned for the delivery of four turbines to Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Two entities were also blacklisted over the transfer.

It allegedly occurred in July 2017 after the turbines were developed by a joint Russian-German venture.

"The transfer occurred despite clear contractual provisions prohibiting the use of the turbines in Crimea and repeated assurances that no such transfer would take place," the Treasury Department said. "If successfully installed, these turbines will further support Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea by providing an independent power supply to Crimea and Sevastopol."

The Limited Liability Company Foreign Economic Association Technopromexport and PJSC Power Machines, the Russian owner of the joint venture that produced the turbines, were also sanctioned.

Technopromexport's general director, Sergey Topor-Gilka, was further designated.

“The U.S. government is committed to maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and to targeting those who attempt to undermine the Minsk agreements,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

“Those who provide goods, services, or material support to individuals and entities sanctioned by the United States for their activities in Ukraine are engaging in behavior that could expose them to U.S. sanctions.”

Additionally, the Treasury Department sanctioned 11 individuals it classified as "Ukrainian separatists" for threatening "the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine".

Among them are 10 officials in the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine, including the DPR's Minister of Finance, Ekaterina Matyushchenko, and Natalya Nikonorova, the DPR's foreign affairs minister.

Dmitry Ovsyannikov, the Russia-backed governor of Sevastopol in Crimea, was also designated.

As a result of Friday's actions, Americans are prohibited from doing business with those sanctioned and any assets they hold subject to U.S. jurisdiction have been frozen.

Later on Friday, Russia's Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department released a statement on its website and said the U.S.’ additional sanctions were imposed “under the false pretext of Russian involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.”

“Washington can not get rid of the illusion that it can scare us by the refusal of U.S. visas or trade restrictions, to force us to give up independent policy in the international affairs, from defending us our national interests,” the statement said.

The statement warned that if Washington breaks economic and other ties with Moscow, Russia “reserves the right to reply.”

These sanctions would only lead to financial losses for American business, Russia further warned in the statement.

*Elena Teslova contributed to this report from Moscow.

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